Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 15, 2005

Billmon: 04/15

III. Apocalypse Now and Then


II. Life Imitates the Whiskey Bar


I. Kulturkampf

I'd rather try to persuade the voters that progressives will defend those values than promise them phony remedies for problems that ... are beyond government's power to solve.

Posted by b on April 15, 2005 at 6:32 UTC | Permalink


We will never be able to out- moral the bible thumpers. Never.

Better to stand up for the principles and values that matter. Life, liberty, civil rights, equality under the law, freedom of speech....

We need to quit playing their game. When we play our game, we win.

Because we're right.

Posted by: fourlegsgood | Apr 15 2005 6:44 utc | 1

OT ish

Murdoch one of the world's biggest newspaper proprietors, yesterday told American editors that they had all been "remarkably complacent" about the effects of growing internet use on the newsprint industry.

"I didn't do as much as I should have after all the excitement of the late 1990s," Mr Murdoch admitted. "I suspect many of you in this room did the same, quietly hoping that this thing called the digital revolution would just limp along.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Apr 15 2005 6:58 utc | 2


It's not NASDP, it's NSDAP. For the interested: The acronym stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, which roughly translates to National Socialist German Labor Party. This is also the origin of the term Nazi, because that "word" is just the first two syllables of the pronounciation of National in German ("Nutzeeyonull").

Or maybe I just didn't get it and ex-Sen. Miller really is affiliated to the New American School Design Project. In that case, please forgive me, Mr. Miller ;)

Posted by: Mike | Apr 15 2005 7:56 utc | 3

Why is there so little talk in the Demsphere about labourrights, unions, social services, a benign foreign policy etc? Looking from outside the US it is hard to understand why there is no visible discussion on these issues.

There is a huge majority of potential voters left of Lieberman. But the issues the Dems talk about are all centrist with the center steadily moving to the right. No wonder they can´t get these people to the voting cabins.

Another issue I do not get is the lack of party discipline. How can 31 dems in the House vote Yes for abolishing the estate tax AND Yes the bankruptcy bill and still be part of the party? There was nothing to win there and all to loose. They should be kicked out of any party hierarchie and cut off from any party support.

Can someone please explain?

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2005 11:47 utc | 4

Because the greatest success of the right in the US over the last 50 years has been to paint any position left of Genghis Khan or Maggie Thatcher as a Communist plot designed to hand the nation over to foreign powers and the Democrats have bought into it. Also, Americans seem to have no sense of history, and don't remember the fights for labour rights and such things early in the 20th century.

The US doesn't traditionally do party discipline in that way, as I understand it. Anyway, there was funding at stake: how could they vote against the interests of their constituents, the big companies who give them lots of cash.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 12:18 utc | 5

I mostly agree with this ... but it is simply not true that what is on TV has no or little impact on society:

For example, in the 1970’s Miguel Sabido, vice-president of Televisa a Mexican multi-media conglomerate, decided to use soap operas to promote social change in Mexico. One series focused on literacy. The illiterate characters were presented as poor, unemployed and an “embarrassment.” In one episode a character showed up at a literacy office. The next day over 250,000 Mexicans did the same; eventually some 840,000 people entered literacy programs. Sabido got the same kinds of results with programming focused on birth control and AIDS.


Today the average American child will see over 200,000 violent acts on TV alone before they graduate from high school. The problem is not that kids go around copying what they have seen; it is the culture of disrespect that is created by this kind of story telling. This culture affects all of us whatever our personal viewing habits may be. And the relationship is not one of correlation, it is causal.

Over 1000 studies - including a Surgeon General's special report in 1972 and a National Institute of Mental Health report 10 years later - attest to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. Studies show that the more "real-life" the violence portrayed, the greater the likelihood that it will be "learned." - American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, Volume 95, Number 6 - June 1995

Posted by: a-train | Apr 15 2005 12:33 utc | 6

The nostalgia for a return to the days when our entertainment was pure is divorced from history.

Lynching postcards (WARNING: disturbing and graphic) were popular, and lynchings were considered entertainment events, into the 20th century.

Mark Twain wrote about it. As did Ida B. Wells

And blacks weren't the only ones lynched, though they bore the worst of it. The IWW was put down by vigilante justice.

Now, admittedly, these events didn't get the same numbers as a Fox reality show, but no one made anyone pack a picnic and watch the "festivities."

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 15 2005 12:40 utc | 7

B: I try to answer your questions in the Open Thread at 05-38.

Posted by: NickM | Apr 15 2005 13:04 utc | 8

We will never be able to out- moral the bible thumpers. Never.

I'm a Christian liberal and I wouldn't say that. Liberals and Democrats simply need to take a page out of Barry Goldwater's playbook by growing a spine and then unshackle their tongues against these yo-yos. Simply and calmly call a spade a a spade! Voracious parasites that cloak their appetite for blood in a shroud of righteousness deserve to be exposed as such and often. Goldwater didn't mince words when he once said, "Any good Christian should kick Falwell in the ass" so the left shouldn't mince words either.

I know what some of you are thinking: "But Sizemore, doesn't your advice give credibility to the likes of Hot-Head Hannity and Blondie Bin Coulter who regularly pidgeonhole us as anti-Christian, Godless loons?!?"

Yes it does and -- like Barry Goldwater -- we shouldn't give a shit no less because right-wing pundits are going to pidgeonhole us even when we're NOT coming down on the extreme Christian right. Every single Democrat or liberal could keel over tomorrow and those fools would still parrot their "vast left-wing conspiracy" theories (Pat Robertson might even claim that we're trying to undermine their agenda from the grave)!

When I look at the Democractic party, I see a spineless and useless bastion that couldn't conspire to pour piss out of a boot and that alone renders all right-wing arguments to the contrary as being nothing more than foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric. But if we "give 'em a conspiracy", they'll foam at the mouth even more as Republicans absolutely despise competition in the arrogance department and -- as we've witnessed with the fallout over Schaivo -- when Republicans are driven completely batshit, they tend to show their true colors (vailed threats against judges, anyone?) to the rest of the American people.

Posted by: Sizemore | Apr 15 2005 13:24 utc | 9

It's an interesting issue, because while I know the rethugs are using it as a thin cover for xenophobia and anti-semitism, I also know that TV is a vast conspiracy to stupefy the public. The "liberals" who think that teaching violence, stupidity, sexualization of children, hapless consumerism, and the other major moral principles of Murdoch/GE/Disney is just a matter of taste, are horribly naive.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 15 2005 13:37 utc | 10

It's pretty obvious that the present fare blasting from our TV's has a tremendous impact on the viewers. And, unfortunately that impact is largely negative. It neither enlightens nor entertains in any lasting, postive sense. As someone observed long ago, for the most part "Television is a vast wasteland."

Posted by: bncthor | Apr 15 2005 15:40 utc | 11

So why doesn't at least one democrat somewhere remind at least one reporter somewhere that it's Bush himself who funded the trash his religous right owners object to. All democrats should refer to Bush as the Pornographer in Chief.

Posted by: Greg Allison | Apr 15 2005 16:17 utc | 12

Billmon writes:

For the Republicans, the benefits of ginning up a debate over "values" are obvious . . . it creates a potential rift between the Hollywood donor community and the Democratic Party.

To extend this idea: The Web of Corruption flowchart at suggests that Delay's "anti-casino" campaign in Texas was motiviated at least in part by a desire to shut down the competition, to improve business as "his" casino. As the site puts it:

I'm confused: is Tom DeLay for gambling or against it? Oh, I get it - he's for gambling when the casinos pay him to be for it.

Posted by: Jamie | Apr 15 2005 16:27 utc | 13

"Irony" is in some peculiar way the virus that weakens T-cells of revulsion. "Pulp fiction", for example, is a truly nasty work - a compendium of prejudice and stereotypes glamorizing violence and sadism. I keep hearing about the ironic view or the technical brilliance but I've met plenty of brilliant and engaging junkies or gangsters who maintained a certain ironic distance from their actions. There is something cool about it from the perspective of a teenager but being an engaging and amusing thug, makes one no less a thug. There is something creepy about "liberal" academics and professionals who find Birth of a Nation or True Lies great art or who delight in the "pop culture" found on TV.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 15 2005 16:33 utc | 14

Re: Life imitates Whiskey Bar

My guess is that anything underhanded and double-dealing you can think up, Delay's probably done it or is planning on doing it. And chances are, he's done a few that you can't even possibly imagine.

Posted by: bcf | Apr 15 2005 18:44 utc | 15

Billmon: Well, Goebbels may not have invented it, but he certainly used it later. I've actually seen a bit of one of his speeches where he says it jokingly, and the whole audience of middle and upper class good Germans burst into laughter, including numerous women who found this particularly clever and correct. Alas, I strongly suspect that these despicable audience scum weren't the ones to die under the bombs in Berlin and Dresden, but survived, when far better people were massacred instead.

Colman: "a Communist plot designed to hand the nation over to foreign powers"
Considering how most of the American people and nearly all their pols behave, I don't think it would be such a bad thing, actually.

Fauxreal: Nothing new. Good society from Washington went to see the first major battle of Civil War, expecting the North to crush this puny rebellion. They went there as to a picnic. Then they all flew in disarray when the Southerners won.

I'm with Sizemore in that the Left, the progressives, the liberals, have to go back to the core of populism, and use it to pound, hammer and nail the whole corporate elite and all their right-wing enablers. Label them as traitors to the nation, as ready to sell out the country to foreign interests, as preferring personal gain over the good of the nation, the country, the people, as having no sense of sacrifice yet expecting it from every other citizen. Just pound the bastards. You wouldn't even have to lie or distort facts, because it's *exactly* what right-wing is doing in every single Western nation - yet it's what they accuse the Left of doing.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Apr 15 2005 19:24 utc | 16

Billmon writes:

It's also given us Wonkette, which is pretty hard to forgive.

. . . And I have nothing of substance to add, except to say, Billmon, Billmon, how I have missed you.

It's a tiny, trivial thing; but it hurts my brain to know that there are people take that woman seriously.

Posted by: Fiorinda | Apr 16 2005 19:50 utc | 17

Billmon's Kulturkampf:

It also means that any Democrat (or alleged Democrat) who writes for the WSJ editorial page is essentially a collaborator - in the classic rat-out-the-resistance-leader-for-a-pair-of-nylons sense of the world.

Hey, I have been published three times in the Op-Ed pages of the WSJ! Am I redeemed by having also been front paged on Kos?!

Gazprom (see item 11)
Gazprom and Ukraine
Russia Investment Grade

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 16 2005 23:14 utc | 18

cloned poster

someone here mention that pet pig of thatcher - a bernard ingram & the very name gives me shivers - but i remember also there was a feminine version of him that you would often see on bbc - & i forget her name - it was a proramme 'covering the press' & i use all those three world lightly including the the - i rmember her as a harridan always screaming in her dickensian voice at the journalist for an arabic paper based in london - bari(?) - just thinking of thes caricatures gives me the horros & no dount they will invade my sleep

when engels spoke of monster he would never have imagined how monstrous

& thank you cp

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 23:37 utc | 19

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